ADCO is honored to be helping Harvest Hope Food Bank get out the word on its urgent need for operating funds so it can keep feeding the hungry in 22 South Carolina counties.
Harvest Hope CEO Denise Holland issued the appeal at a news conference on March 9.
The media reaction has been gratifying. All four local commercial TV stations showed up and reported — some of them doing followups. As for print — Harvest Hope’s appeal got the lede position on the front page of The State Wednesday, and on Thursday The Greenville News (Harvest Hope also has a significant presence in Greenville) played the story as its front-page centerpiece.
There will be follow-up coverage. But going forward, the ball is in the court of potential donors — some of whom have responded already to the initial repeal to double-match the generous $150,000 match pledge from Mungo Homes.
As of Monday, March 14, the cash raised since Tuesday was $43,797. Now, that’s a great start, but just a start toward the $2 million that’s needed by June. In fact, it’s just a start toward double-matching the Mungo grant. So tell everyone you know, we need this thing to start snowballing.
To recap the salient points:
- Each year since the economic crisis began, the need has been greater than the year before. Harvest Hope is now feeding 91 percent more families than it did in 2008.
- Fixed costs, aside from food and capital needs, have risen dramatically. It now costs $3,100 a DAY to fuel the vehicles that distribute the food, and that’s only going to go up.
- As the need and costs have risen, cash donation have dropped over the last few months. Some regular donors, people who used to give monthly, have even told Harvest Hope that they are just a step away from having to avail themselves of the charity’s services.
- For the first time ever, the “giving season” donations that tend to flow in from September to December were not enough to pay off the line of credit that carries HH through the lean spring and summer. Always in the past, that operating debt was paid off by Jan. 1. At the start of this year, the organization was a million dollars in the hole — this despite operational expense cutbacks.
- All of that adds up to an urgent need for $2 million to fill that hole, and to cover the expected increase in operating expenses for the next few months.
- This is not just Harvest Hope’s problem; it’s a significant challenge to the 22 counties it serves. Because other entities that feed the hungry in those communities — churches, secular nonprofits, what have you, 450 member agencies in all — depend on Harvest Hope to supply the food. This, folks, is South Carolina’s version of an organization that is “too big to fail.”
We hear a lot of talk from the political sphere about relying on government less and the private sector more when it comes to providing a safety net for the “deserving poor.” Well, folks, in this part of South Carolina, Harvest Hope IS the private sector’s means of feeding the hungry.
Oh, and at Harvest Hope you don’t find the “culture of dependency” problem that you sometimes hear about. Typically, if Harvest Hope is able to take care of a family’s emergency food needs for three months running, it gets them through the crisis so they can get back on their feet. And only 1 percent of clients are on TANF (what remains of “welfare as we knew it”) benefits.
So what are you waiting for? Time to step up, and give. Here’s how:
- Visit the donor page at www.harvesthope.org.
- If you have received a mailing from Harvest Hope, please use the convenient reply envelope that came with it.
- Send a check to Harvest Hope, 2220 Shop Road, Columbia, SC 29201.